Images of here and there

August 31, 2017

July and August went by very quickly and were quite busy, it seems. Nicely though. When in the morning I opened the shutters and saw the top of a mountain under a blue sky, I knew the clouds would eventually disappear and leave room for another sunny and hot day.DSC03978One day, as I went  to a small town down in the valley, I had the surprise of finding some marmots (groundhogs) very far away from their alpine territories. Mom and her girls. Those were local marble sculptures made by a great uncle of mine who passed away a long time ago. He had sculpted many  animals (foxes, squirrels, weasels, cats, owls, eagles and more) that were exhibited here and there in our area.  Often in parks, on fountains or bridges, in front of some schools too. What a happy and touching discovery!DSC03959Up in the mountains wild flowers cover our pastures with varied and beautiful shades. This is just one of the many bouquets I picked during Summertime. Not two were alike and I just loved their delicate simplicity.DSC03982A few minutes before a loud Summer storm, I spotted a complex agricultural machinery, a kind of rural art, don’t you think ? And a lovely splash of vibrant colors when the sky got real dark.DSC04044Shopping one day in a dairy shop, I smiled as I read the wooden sign : “”Eggs from happy hens”. They must have tasted good because there were none left for sale. Too bad.DSC03964At a multicultural family reunion around a little baby, Mady,  his Senegalese Dad had invited several members of his African family and friends and before long an exotic music was in the air for everyone’s pleasure.DSC04093

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Ninio loved our sunny Summer  but sometimes he enjoyed some shade too…going zebra- like !DSC03814

I did not quilt much during these past months but just started an experiment with two or three plain materials that I cut  and assembled randomly. An improvisation without too much thinking or planning. The very hot days seemed to have slowed down my imagination… Let’s see where this will lead me to !DSC04047I hope you will enjoy these few images taken during the last months. There was more to be thankful for or to feel sad about but we have to take days as they come and make the best of them, don’t we ?

DSC04057Before long those little birds will stop their “chat on line” and leave for another Summer somewhere else while we will stay here with the happy memory of their cheerful singing.

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Hello Friends,

Since I did not post nor took many pictures for a while, I thought of asking dear “Jb&Fl” whether they would mind sharing with me some of their  travel pictures. They agreed happily. Both are traveling in South-East Asia. The correspondances  and contrasts between here and there  are just amazing and so interesting. Beautiful too. Then I dug into my archives and found some images that would in some way correspond to theirs but in my part of the world (Switzerland). Here is the result, I hope you will enjoy the trip as much as I did looking at these images from far away.photo-01-01-17-17-09-36As a bright parasol  opened under the warm sun of Myanmar (Burma),dsc02058snow had been falling all day long in the Swiss Alps.

photo-19-01-17-12-50-21Red: such a warm color under any sky ! Here is a typical wooden house at the edge of the  Inle  Lake (Myanmar).dsc03407On my way home on a rather dull day, I was attracted by this red barn which added some warmth to the Winter landscape.

photo-16-01-17-11-07-17Bowls and pots,  almost similar shapes but different uses according to the places and the Seasons. Teatime in South-East Asia and flower pots in standby in Switzerland.dsc03415

Dogs… don’t they all sometimes have the same worried look wherever they live ?photo-29-01-17-13-23-55A puppy in a street somewhere in Asia. “Will you adopt me ?”dsc03380Ninio at home : “Where is JB ? The only one in the family who runs almost… as fast as I do. I miss him and our games”.

Slow ways of transportphoto-24-01-17-12-50-03A “taxi” in Laos and a funicular in Switzerland. Two ways of traveling slowly but surely.dsc00657

Cool food for hot days. A tasty looking salad  in Thailandphoto-26-01-17-12-25-08and another one here at home.spring-salad

Would you care for some sweets ? How about a mango and rice dessert to end your meal ?photo-26-01-17-15-25-54 or  would you prefer a choco-pistachio  dome in Switzerland ?dsc01488

Are you ready for more visits after a pause ?  Like cruising slowly along  rice fieldsphoto-09-01-17-16-24-11whereas our own fields over here are barely out of dormancy.dsc03317

Let’s  walk uphill to the mountains of  North  Myanmar photo-16-01-17-12-30-20or walk on a mountain path facing some of the Swiss Alps ?dsc02074

It has been a long day of walking and visiting , photo-27-01-17-16-16-18 admiring the golden domes of  the many magnificent ancient temples in South-East Asia. Let’s walk into the old Gothic church (St-Michel) of Fribourg and have a rest while listening to classical music.dsc02025

The sun is setting down now, warm colors over the horizon, several dark silhouettes of  temples   in the Far-Eastphoto-14-01-17-18-08-46and, on a misty day,  an unusual pink shade  at sunset over a farm in my village.dsc03356Thanks a lot “Jb&Fl” for sharing your beautiful pictures with me and the visitors of my blog. It was a real pleasure to bring our worlds together and to see through your eyes. How difficult to choose pictures amongst all of them ! Maybe there will be another post about your future travels and visits in Asia ? Take care and all the best. Love.

Easter light

March 26, 2016

DSC02110May the sun rays over the Alps bring you light and warmth in your heart.

DSC02119.JPGI hope you will rejoice and smile at the brightness of these fresh Spring flowers. A true renewal of Season.

DSC00083.JPGPeace and love  to all in those troubled times and let us not forget to stay strong and  keep Hope alive.

Wishing you  and yours a very Happy Easter !

Isabelle

Gifts of love

February 14, 2016

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day !

This small heart,  made of joyful scraps weaved together like a tapestry of friendship and love between us all, is my gift for you. I had so much pleasure sewing it slowly, seeing how simple stitches could create such movement on the various materials (cotton and wild silk). This is just the beginning of a new technique I discovered in a book by Claire Wellesley-Smith “Slow Stitch” (mindful and contemplative textile art).

DSC02044.JPGMany Valentine’s gifts of all kinds are shown in our shops. I chose a window presenting books for children. Love stories with happy endings, questions like “What is Love” ? and many more tales about those unforgettable friendships with a beloved dog, a horse or a rabbit.Maybe these books will remind you of those of your childhood or the ones you read to your kids later on ?  I do remember “The Family Bear’s Picnic”, a book brought back from the States and that I read countless times to my sons. Being in English, I had to translate this story for them every evening for quite a long time. Sometimes I would not find the very same word as the night before and…it was a drama: “No, no, Papa Ours  (bear) did not say that !” or “His sandwich was made with ham and not cheese”! Memories of love that made me smile today.DSC02029.jpgNature offers us hearts  and signs of love in places you do not always expect them. Like this  piece of snow stuck between two branches and that I had not noticed when taking the picture. In fact, I was more attracted by the setting sun caught in the forest. Hasn’t it got a shape of a heart too ?hiver, baies rougesAnd here is another gift of friendship and gratefulness for you on Valentine’s Day. Thankfulness for your visits and support even though I have not been regularly posting and visiting you these days. This is the landscape I saw this morning as I opened the shutters of the chalet up in the Alps. I am never tired of looking at it, morning or evening, at sunrise or sunset, in Winter or in Summer.DSC02062.JPGWishing you well on Valentine’s Day and on the other days too 🙂

Isabelle

Moments I like to remember

October 17, 2014

On a hot Summer evening under the roof of his attic apartment. my eldest son was busy preparing a Thai meal to celebrate my birthday. Great concentration for adding the many ingredients that were chosen for  this special and delicious meal. Thanks JB !

collage, Thai foodLast June I finished sewing a picnic quilt. Lots of leftover scraps from previous quilts. I was really happy.

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The problem was that our Summer was so cold and rainy  that picnics were too rare. Fortunately Autumn has started beautifully and warmly. Sooner or later the colorful blanket will be part of a joyful day in the open.DSC00109

Oh, the great moments I spent reading these books during last Spring and Summer ! Not always cheerful stories  but certainly all different and fascinating in many ways, locations, times, styles and characters.

books, Summer 2014

I remember with emotion the outing my family and I made – as well as many cousins – to an unforgettable place in the Alps. 300 hundred years ago a major rockslide hit a small mountain village, killing many of its inhabitants and their cattle, destroying their rough wooden chalets.

Last August a day of remembrance was celebrated up on those mountain pastures where rocks are still covering much of the landscape. “Emotion”, I wrote because this area is where my mother grew up; she and her siblings used to go up there every Summer looking after the family domestic cattle. Those were hard times but “some of the best of my life”, my mother used to say. All day long I thought of her and how she would have loved to be there with us. She certainly was in my heart.

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On the road to the pastures, we were welcomed by local musicians playing the Alp horn, a typical musical instrument here.DSC00075

Another moment to remember of  this past Summer was my father’s significant birthday ! Having owned a garage  almost all his life, we thought it would be a nice surprise for him to rent an old Londonian taxi (Austin 1970) to drive him to the place where family and friends were waiting to cheering him. He was hugely surprised and absolutely delighted.

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What a great moment too when I was able to pick the first apples – boscop – in the garden ! Not exactly shiny nor smooth, they are nevertheless tasty and just perfect for pies or compotes.DSC00352Guess what other moments I always like to remember ? The adventurous walks Ninio leads me to. Nature in all its forms. Wild most of the time. Not that he refuses to go to my chosen destinations. But his eyes and slower pace tell me : “Now, how about going on exploration to places that smell interesting ?”

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Altitudes and contrasts

March 19, 2014

Over the past weeks it seems like I did  nothing much but come and go between the mountains (4429ft) and the plains (1480ft) and yet I can assure you a lot happened in-between ! The seasonal flu’ hit several family members I looked after; Spring cleaning fever hit me too, as well as clearing out. I also took time to visit with friends here and there. During these constant trips up and down the valley, I became interested in  comparing the changes of Season according to the different altitudes.

The tall and almost bare larch trees in the Alps; snow melted in places but no green buds yet.arbres-mâts

A forest of slender masts in the town of Morat, at the edge of a lake. The boats are stlll protected from the cold and the frost that can cause so much damage in Winter. Soon they will sail on the lake though.

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Under an unusual mountain fog, the slate roofs of the chalets are still covered with a thick layer of snow.

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whereas the old red tiled roofs of the ancient houses shine under the sun near  Morat.

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Snow flowers over 4000ft

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and  Spring first pink blossoms at the lakeside.  So welcome !

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Someone you know, my Nino, is almost taking off a steep slope in the mountains, a simple joy he never gets tired of,

Ninio, snow

and a thirsty dog (20°C on that particular day) taking a bath and drinking water at the edge of the lake, after playing with his master on the grass.

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Typical Winter activity…

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and early Spring relaxing moments at the lake.

DSC00268Such are my landscapes at the moment. Winter is not yet over (far from it) and Spring is starting to shine down in the valley. I even saw apricot trees in bloom, a rare sight at the end of March. I wish you happy moments, joyful colors and a warmer sunshine in a blue sky.

En route for Spring !

Silent times

May 18, 2013

So much time and patience have been needed recently to first open my PC, then read my mail and respond to it, write on the blog or read you ! My old PC definitely needs a rest or better said, a retirement after a long and good collaboration. Slowly but surely.Remington 2Maybe I will go back to writing on an impressive  type-writer such as this  Remington from other times ? It was sitting quietly on a coffee house table.

A letter 2Or maybe I will switch to snail mail – which I often do anyway – choosing a lovely stationary, using my favourite fountain pen and letting it flow gently on the soft paper ?

montgolfièreSomething is sure though. A travel is planned soon. I will fly over the Alps to a warmer climate (hopefully !) and when I return home, you may well find me sitting in front of a new screen 😉

In the meantime, I wish you a happy and sunny Spring, plenty of pictures, thoughts and experiences  to share. I look forward to reading you.

Take good care of you.

See you again later. Au revoir et à bientôt.

Isabelle

Autumn and harvest

October 22, 2012

Grape harvest is over in most areas of my canton (Valais). Some grapes will have to wait for a mid November harvest though. The wine produced then will have more flavour, sweetness and this particular flavour “terroir”, from the local soil.John O’Donohue, Irish writer and philosopher, writes about “Autumn and the Inner Harvest” (Anam Cara). He tells of the four Seasons of the heart, Autumn being associated with old age.

“In the autumntime of your life, your experience is harvested. Within the harvest circle, you are able to gather lost moments and experiences, bring them together, and hold them as one”.

As in the Celtic Wisdom, O’Donohue sees Autumn as the harvest of one’s soul that gives a deeper sense of strenght, belonging and poise. A quiet delight when this time arrives in your life.

I  like O’Donohue’s deep thoughts and, as I walked through those wineyards last Sunday afternoon, I remembered my mother’s words and memories of her younger years when she was helping her father taking care of their few vineyards over the same hills. It was a hard work for anyone involved. No machines were used. The work started in February/March and ended in October/November. A lot was to be learned over months and years. A harvest of knowledge and traditions were transmitted to sons and daughters, families’ links were valued and strenghtened. Most mountain villagers grew vineyards  on the foothills. Their earnings were  meagre and  when the grapes were brought to the communal wine cellars, the gain was much appreciated.  It used to be a joyful and singing crowd which walked down to the valley early in the morning (5-6am) during the season of grape harvest. Sometimes, on lucky days, a postal bus would drive the villagers and winegrowers down to the vineyards.  After a long day’s work under a hot sun the return home up to the little villages was much  quieter. Bodies hurt and voices kept silent.  Of course there was a big celebration at the end of the harvest. It coincided with this other tradition that is still present nowadays : roasted chestnuts (brisolée).  A feast when served with various kinds of cheese, cold meats, rye bread/butter, grapes and apple pie; we also drink must (grape juice not fermented yet). A simple and delicious meal-of-the-season.

All those thoughts and more went through my mind during my afternoon walk. I wished my mother would have been there with me, holding my arm, smiling, commenting, remembering and gleaning the few grapes that were forgotten or left for visitors or birds or beagles 😉 Yes, Nino was with me and I had some trouble keeping him close to me, especially when we walked near this beautiful  vineyard (below) that had not been harvested yet.

In a  photo album, I found this old picture of grape harvest in our area, Valais. My mother could have been there making a pause and chatting with friends. Those days are long gone….

One week in pictures

September 8, 2012

Some weeks just go by their own quiet way and rhythm. I do not mean  a routine because there seems to be something special in each day. In some weeks though there are events out of the ordinary, people and places you will remember. The week described here was one of those.

Monday is sometimes a day when I try cooking new recipes. Pies or quiches are amongst my favourites. Some of them I find reading blogs such as Tammy’s. Her blog is not only about food but also about community supported agriculture. Well worth reading.

http://agrigirl.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/i-like-pie/#more-6508

  The recipe is about a tomato pie. Since I had a big and beautiful zuchini  waiting to be picked in the garden, I added some of it in the pie (grated and grilled a little). This is the only change I made. It tasted really delicious, Thank you very much, Tammy.

On Tuesday I had to go to town  and found a quiet lane to walk for a while with Nino-the-beagle. Guess whom we met ? Another beagle looking lonely behind a fence. What do two beagles say to each other when they meet : “Let’s escape together and go hunting !”

Wednesday morning. Brilliant clouds welcomed me as I opened the shutters. “O, beautiful golden clouds, what will you bring us on this day” ? As it happened, the warm morning turned into a stormy day. A rather temperamental weather this Summer but a rain that was well needed too.

A short break after work on Thursday afternoon. As we  were  sitting on a bench with a friend, a “school-boat” was floating down the canal. A lady was steering the little boat back to its mooring. Not as simple as it looks  and she did very well.

Friday was a rainy day. A drive over the mountains to visit long-time friends of our family. It was cold, foggy. The landscape looked  autumnal and yet beautiful in its own way.

On Saturday morning at our friend’s home, we were awaken by a ballet of helicopters. Every third minute or so, a helicopter would fly over the area, fill a big  bucket of water (700 liters) and pour it down on the forest which had caught fire during the night. It took the pilots two whole days to stop it. Nobody was injured and the damage could be stopped in time.

Sunday was a happy celebration day ! Family and friends gathered around Alima, our youngest niece. The sun shone brightly  for her. There were prayers, songs, dance and lots of African food and music. Another change of scenery in this particular week.  Alima was quite comfortable and relaxed dancing in her  proud grandmother’s arms.

Guess what I did on Sunday ? After a rest following the previous long day, I sat down on a lovely terrace between sky and earth, took my pen and some nice stationary; I wrote to a dear friend all about my recent week. Internet is not part of her world and we both enjoy exchanging letters every month.

How about  photo assignement  this month ? Here is one proposed by Karen at http://karmardav.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/photo-hunt-inspiration-and-early-announcement/

The deadline is August 31st and the theme is about the place(s) that would represent the “End of the earth” for you. Karen explains all about it in her blog (see above link, please).

Looking through some of my recent and older pictures, I found some images that I thought would show you my vision of the end of the earth.

A hamlet up in the Swiss  Alps.  About 15 people live there all year round. Both sides of the mountain slopes seem to close in front of the small village. On a foggy day the chalets look isolated, almost lost in the forest. To me it does look like the end of the earth. When the sun is out though the high mountains all around offer you a different sight: a quiet little village from where you could start hiking to the  mountain pastures.

On a brighter side, here is a man doing paragliding;  it looks as if he is heading to the end of the earth… A view that made me dizzy and envious of the infinite space that lay all around him and that is so difficult to imagine.

Sunset on the large lake, beauty, light, peace,  isolation. It seemed that one could not go further and that the horizon of the lake would be the end of the earth.

Austral mountains and forests stretching out to the horizon.  No visible village nor town nearby. No hikers to be seen around. The only sounds were the calls of the noisy cockatoes. A sure feeling of being at the end of the earth.

As for the “extreme” type of picture I felt like adding to Karen’s photo hunt, I chose this one. I took it a few years ago as I was walking along a mountain trail. Two boys  were cycling and they stopped in front of a trail going down the slope. So steep that I would have hesitated to walk down there myself. I barely had time to ask : “Are you sure you…” and down they went !